Gemma Arterton made her professional stage debut at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2007, with huge critical acclaim as Rosaline in Loves’s Labour’s Lost while still a student at RADA. She returned at the beginning of the year to play the title role in the Jacobean tragedy The Duchess of Malfi by English dramatist John Webster directed by Dominic Dromgoole.
It opened the curtain on the inaugural season at the Globe’s Sam Wanamaker Playhouse – an intimate 340 seat indoor Jacobean theatre, built from authentic designs and craftsmanship of the period. It is named after the director and actor who founded the modern recreation of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. The conspiratorial atmosphere is enhanced with the 17th century practice of being lit almost solely by beeswax candles.
The Duchess is one of the great theatrical roles for women and Gemma jumped at the chance to play her on such a magical stage. “It’s like Tarantino,” she said, “there’s mass bloodshed, incest, violence, lots of kick-arse stuff and everybody dies in the end.” Gemma’s own death scene is gruesome. She is strangled with two ropes pulling in opposing directions for nearly ten minutes.